For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. [Romans 7:18-19]
I just do not listen. Countless times I’ve gotten feedback about my life, how to de-stress, re-prioritize. All I hear is my own voice above the noise.
Life, as it is now, always seems to boil down to one thing right now: career. Not even school. Not even God. Career. Last Friday, I returned from work feeling distressed. As I was talking to my small group leader about the upcoming spring quarter, the tears could not be held back. Thinking about the volunteering commitment I would be returning to and a new writing internship, on top of my current internship, job, writing projects, fellowship, and four classes, my chest felt tight. Sometimes I struggle to remember to even breathe and slow down.
I still want it all. My flesh wants to expend itself to do everything. I already started planning what I would be doing internship-wise next year. Romans 7 perfectly captures the human condition, my condition: I know what is right, I know I need to devote more time to the Word, to ministering to the younger ones in my fellowship, to growing in my relationships with God and my friends. Yet I do not do what is right. I keep doing what is wrong. I still live as if I don’t know any better.
‘Do you really think you’d be a good lord over your own life?’ My leader, genuinely curious, did not seem to think so. I finally confessed to her that I’ve been thinking about how recently maybe the cost to follow Jesus is too high, and I was at the edge of giving up entirely. I wanted to pursue my career without people telling me that it’s not the most important thing, without my guilt, without any other cares in the world. But she pointed out how I was crying about all of this, how stressed I was about life – this is what life is like, and will always be like, when I’m living apart from God. I create my own downfall, because that is the only thing I am capable of doing on my own.
I still have no answers as to how I’m going to resolve this issue. This is the first time I’ve really reconsidered my entire faith since the day I was saved. I didn’t reconsider it the summer my heart was breaking when I learned what it meant to have godly relationships in my life. I didn’t reconsider the second time I learned this lesson. I didn’t reconsider whenever I felt disconnected or too different from my friends because of my faith. But this, my career, my time, made me question it all.
I believe there was a time in my life when I knew that Jesus was worth it all. I believe God will bring me back to the same clarity someday. For now, all I want is to just keep holding on to the thread of faith that I still have left.
I lean not on my own understanding. My life is in the hands of the Maker of heaven. I give it all to You God, trusting that You’ll make something beautiful out of me. There’s nothing I hold on to. [‘Nothing I Hold On To’ – Will Reagan]